Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Run, walk or donate: Relay for Life

Everyone’s lives have been in some way, shape or form affected by cancer. Just in the last few years alone, Adam and I have lost an Aunt, lost a friend and co-worker, and have been ever so grateful to see a cousin and two friends Survive.

One of our closest friends, Jenny, is one of these survivors, and is very involved in Relay for Life. Since our summers are filled with weddings galore and we won’t be able to make the event, we’ve decided to help out with a donation instead.

During the month June, Reminisce will be donating 20% of session commissions and product proceeds to this very important cause.

Relay for life has a party-like atmosphere that celebrates life and the memory of those we miss. Just a couple of highlights are the Survivor Lap and the Luminaria Ceremony. Click here to learn more about Relay for Life and to see how you can get involved! Jenny will be doing her thing at the Wauwatosa relay, but if you can't make that one, check out the organization's other dates and locations. One awesome thing about the Tosa one, though, is this year they’re also hosting enrollment for a cancer prevention study!

Jenny was kind enough to share her inspirational story with us...

January 14, 2007 my life had changed. That was the day I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

It all started in December of 2006 when I had noticed a small lump on the right side of my neck, but thought nothing of it. I was a normal 21 year old female attending the University of Milwaukee for my college education. I went to the doctor over my Holiday break only because I was sick and thought I had strep throat. Since I was there, I asked the doctor to check out the lump on my neck. I ended up getting a CT scan to discover what they thought to be a large cyst in my neck. They weren't concerned, but they decided it would be best to surgically remove it. After surgery and recover and received a call from my doctor asking my parents and I to come in and talk. Thinking I was invincible, again thought nothing of it. That day is when I heard the bad news and my life had dramatically changed.

I was terrified. Naturally, I thought "why me," "how can this happen to me." I didn't understand how this happened. I had plans and now they had to be put on hold because I had to take care of my health first.

A week later I was back in the operating room to remove my thyroid along with several positive lymph-nodes in my neck. To live without a thyroid you have to take a pill called Synthroid to naturally act as your thyroid which controls, most importantly, your energy and metabolism. After my second surgery I was unable to take this medication because I had to undergo my treatment. This treatment is a Radioactive Iodine treatment, which will only work if you have no Thyroid activity going on. So I had to go through 2 miserable months without and thyroid to prepare me for this treatment. Not only was I EXHAUSTED, wanted to sleep all the time, but I also had several other side affects that weren't the most fun.

I finally was able to get the Radioactive Iodine treatment, which means I had to take this nuclear iodine pill that forced me to be quarantine for a week. I couldn't be around anybody because I would be giving off "X-ray" radioactivity. It could harm anybody who came near me. Once that was over with I had several body scans to see if the remaining cancer cells were killed.

Fortunately, I was able to go on living my life, FINALLY taking the thyroid medication and only doing routine checks ups.

Then the year 2008 (age 23) rolled around and I had my routine check up. Long story short, after a biopsy, multiple scans, my doctor found some more cancer in my lymph-nodes. I was back in the operating room for the 3rd time. This time the nodes they took out ended up being negative. Which make me wonder "where the heck is it then?" Thyroid cancer is a slow growing cancer so I had to sit and basically wait until it popped up somewhere. That is not a very comforting feeling knowing that you still have cancer, when will it surface, what is going to happen next?

Year 2009, it was like deja vu. Routine check up, multiple tests, and of course more cancer. By this time, I was sick and tired of dealing with this. Not only is it emotionally and physically draining, but it really got in the way of my life AGAIN. This time I went to a new surgeon who specialized in thyroid cancer surgeries. Surgery number 4 occurred in March and it was the most painful of all of them. Reason being, he pretty much cleared everything out of me because he didn't want me to be returning with this the following year. So I finally have hope that I can put this behind me.

All I have to say is that I have the most AMAZING family and friends in the entire world. They stood beside me the whole time holding my hand and basically carrying me through this. I could not have done it without all of them. They are the reason I have so much courage, strength and hope. They kept my head held high and always portraying a positive attitude. I believe that is the true way to survive.

I am proud to say I am a Survivor!

Quote that I live by:

"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr


  1. Miranda and Adam, you guys are AWESOME for donating 20% of your bookings in June!!! I wish everyone would follow your example!

    It is funny how our posts were related... and we didn't even plan it that way.

    Keep rockin the awesomeness! I hope to see you guys again next year in Vegas!


  2. Great story, thanks for sharing.

    Knowing the difference is the hard part.